We’re faced with a variety of decisions every single day, but occasionally we have to make one that’s life-changing. Perhaps it’s a career switch, uprooting to move to a new place, choosing to expand our family through adoption or pregnancy, or pursuing a risky medical treatment when there are no great options available. Sometimes it’s deciding to homeschool our kids.
Have a Clearly Defined Why
People choose to homeschool for a myriad of reasons and their why can change over time.
The reasons may be very practical.
- A parent’s work schedule conflicts with a traditional school schedule to the point they’d rarely see their kids.
- You live in a place where other schooling options would require an incredibly long commute or sending a child to boarding school, but you don’t feel either of those options are best for your circumstances.
- Ongoing medical situations in your family require a student to miss too much class time in a brick-and-mortar school or for a parent to spend far too much time coordinating rides to and from school around doctor and therapy appointments.
Perhaps the reasons are more about personal convictions and values.
- You believe kids should spend all, or at least most, of their time with their own families.
- The ability to integrate religious beliefs into academics is important to you.
- You’re not comfortable with the curriculum, approach to discipline, and/or general atmosphere of the local public and private schools.
Although some people’s motives for homeschooling aren’t ideal, what generally matters more than a motive itself is that you can articulate what yours is.
The Why Pushes Us Forward
The first reason it’s important to know our why is because it will light a fire under us, helping us move forward when we’d otherwise remain stagnant or retreat. No matter how strongly we believe that homeschooling is the best option for our family at a given point in time, there will be moments when the only thing we want is put all the kids on a bus and have the day to ourselves. A particular subject will get boring, we’ll feel overwhelmed by all the responsibilities on our plate, or we won’t feel like researching the best method of helping a kid who’s struggling to learn something.
In those times, it’s critical to remind ourselves of our why. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging whatever aspect of homeschooling is difficult at the time, and we should certainly make adjustments when necessary, but most of the time we simply need to keep our eyes on the prize. By remembering what prompted us to take the homeschooling plunge in the first place, we’ll find ourselves more motivated to persevere through the parts that are less than dreamy.
The Why Pulls Us In
The second reason for clearly defining our why is that it reins us in, keeping us from chasing every homeschooling wind that blows by. It’s a blessing to live in a time and place with a plethora of resources and options available to homeschooling families. However, that vast array of choices becomes a burden if we feel compelled to follow each new trend or experiment with every approach. We lose continuity and stability if we’re always jumping from one thing to another, trying things simply because they look fun or are working well for people we know.
Sure, there will be times when we need to shake things up a bit for one reason or another, but focusing on our why will help us stick with what’s working for our family. It serves as a checkpoint to make sure that we’re only doing those things that serve our homeschooling purposes, saying no to everything else.
What’s Your Why for Homeschooling?
Why have you chosen to homeschool? Is that a question you can easily answer? If not, I challenge you to think it through until you know exactly what it is. Then allow that why to be what both pushes you forward and pulls you in along your homeschooling journey.